With this Christmas, our real FIRST Christmas as a family with a baby old enough to enjoy her gifts, it’s easy to see the difference between having a baby, and having a dog.

Before Piper, Woofie was the only child. He was cradled, and kissed and nuzzled. Now, sadly to say, Woofie isn’t as fawned over. When I saw the Trupanion contest “How is your pet’s love your best holiday gift“, I felt a little ashamed. We’d been taking him for granted more than we had been appreciating him.

Then, we celebrated Christmas, as a family. Woofie had his gifts, a few squeeze toys, some tug ropes and gnaw bones… and Piper had her gifts, toys that make noise, stacking blocks and books. Piper immediately took her toys away and played with them, by herself. Woofie, on the other hand, brought all his new toys into our laps and got all snuggled up with us, tempting us to play with his gentle nudging.

When Piper caught sight of Woofie and his toys, she crawled over to play with him. It’s like having two kids! One of which is stinky and well, the other who is furry. Together, Piper and Woofie played with his toys. While I don’t know how much of it was fighting for toys, and how much was playing, these two were having a blast together.

It was such a treat, watching our two “children” playing together like friends, since so much of our time while I was pregnant was worrying about how our formerly only-child dog was going to react to the new arrival. Now that she’s here, she’s always the first person Woofie runs up to, making sure to give her kisses while she’s still in her car seat on the floor. Together they rub against each other, Piper giggling while Woofie’s tail wags uncontrollably. At that point of our Christmas morning, I was resenting having to leave our warm family bubble to go out to see the rest of our family. I wanted to enjoy our Christmas together, Mom and Dad, daughter and dog.

As time will go on, Piper will get older and start expecting gifts at Christmas. Woofie won’t. Every day is the same for him, holiday or no. He gets older and still is content to just take his ragged toys for a ride in our laps. He never expects things (other than food), and never asks for anything. His love, and our love in return, is all he needs to be happy. The Beatles sang of it, “Love is all you need, all you need is love”, which so many people tend to mock. Yes, one does need food and shelter, but wouldn’t life be so much easier if we took a lesson from our dogs?

Woofie makes me realize what Christmas is about- love and sharing. All I want for Christmas from now on, is my family snuggled up in bed together watching a movie, all four of us. Toys and books will be broken and read, then cast aside. Love is always in supply and I know Woofie (and I) can always have more.

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